Coming Nuclear Flashpoint
Image Credit: Olof Werngren

Coming Nuclear Flashpoint


If the West has had any success in Afghanistan, it has been in encouraging India to make a massive investment there of economic aid, infrastructure projects and national prestige. New Delhi is the largest regional investor in the country, and ranks second among all donors. With the West’s looming defeat in Afghanistan, however, India’s success will prove Pyrrhic, and may well set the stage for another, perhaps nuclear, confrontation between Pakistan and India.

In their usual ahistorical manner, Washington and its NATO allies believed their 2001 occupation of the major Afghan cities signified not only the complete defeat of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but also an erasure of two millennia of Afghan history and religion that afforded an opportunity to start the country anew. In this context, they looked for other countries to share the enormous cost of nation-building, and India stepped up to the task without having to be asked twice.

And what has India been up to? Mostly infrastructure projects, such as a 250-kilometre highway from Zaranj near the Iran-Afghanistan border to the town of Delaram on the road that connects Kabul, Kandahar and Herat. Indian firms and Indian-government funding are also rebuilding the Salma Dam power project in Herat Province; building the new Afghan parliament house in Kabul; and constructing a power line that will use 600 transmission towers to bring electricity from Uzbekistan, over the Hindu Kush, to Pol-i-Khumri, and thence to Kabul. These and other projects now employ up to 4000 Indian nationals in Afghanistan. In addition, Indian firms are investing in Afghan agriculture and mining, and New Delhi is providing student scholarships, medical aid programs and training for Afghan police and civil servants.

Clearly, Afghanistan’s battered infrastructure needs this help and much more. Like all foreign aid, however, India’s aid has come with accompaniments the Hamid Karzai regime fully accepts, but which tend to drive Pakistan’s government—and especially its general officers—to distraction and deep strategic worry. New Delhi, for example, has built one of its biggest embassies in the world in Kabul, and with it has built four consulates—some media reports say as many as seven—two of which, in Jalalabad and Kandahar, face Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. In addition, New Delhi has deployed nearly 500 men from the Indian Army’s Border Roads Organization to assist in highway construction, and as many or more paramilitary soldiers from its Indo-Tibetan Police force to guard Indian diplomatic facilities and construction projects.

February 23, 2012 at 12:56

Isn’t there a drffeience between a healthy and booming stock market and one that was rigged with insider trading to surge?

February 21, 2012 at 22:58

Fantastic iiotrmafnon. This exactly what I’ve been in search of. I know further individuals who’ll find this helpful as well so, I make sure you pass this along to them as well. A lot of thanks.

February 21, 2012 at 08:43

It?s rlelay helpful for me which I have ever seen.Its presented well and nicely written which easy to understand.Thank you very much for the information

November 15, 2011 at 18:17

I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my mission.

November 24, 2010 at 05:14

Ehsan Afridi, of course you Pakistanis do not want us from west to speak for your suppressed minorities, but you do want our money in billions. If you are that proud refuse to take our aid. we would be happy to see our money used to help people here to cope with economic crisis and see for yourself how long you last.

November 4, 2010 at 17:19

One contry having their nuke programme with the help of foreign aid,foreign help as well as with foreign technology.Entire world know it.

Ehsanullah Afridi
October 16, 2010 at 04:48

india supported the Tamil Tigers for over 3 decades! What are you talking about?

Pakistan sent weapons, and PAF pilots to help neutralize the problem. China also helped a lot. Thanks to us, and the bravery of Sri Lankans, tamils were crushed.

problem solved…

Ehsanullah Afridi
October 16, 2010 at 04:47

What the heck are you talking about? Pakistan’s nuclear capability and delivery systems are all Pakistani made, with Pakistani blood and sweat; yes we did receive outside assistance, but the facilities and infrastructure all is our own

maybe you need to learn more before speaking

Ehsanullah Afridi
October 16, 2010 at 04:40

What a joke! india back-stabbed Iran so many times; when they voted against Iran nuclear program @ UN (And favoured sanctions); when they helped launch israeli spy satellite; etc; not to mention when you ran away like cattle from the IPI deal due to American pressure (Pakistan and possibly China are still in)

india tends to be quite ”sissy” when confronted by pressure

Ehsan Afridi
October 16, 2010 at 04:38

Who brainwashed you? There is no Shiia Sunni rivalry. All Muslims are united and dont think this way –even though there are bad apples who do have your way of thinking.

sorry to break it to you…your divide and conquer mentality will fail miserably

Ehsan Afridi
October 16, 2010 at 04:35

What hogwash!!! The Pashtuns of Pakistan are extremely pro-Pakistan; we are known for our fierce patriotism

We don’t need westerners like you to speak on our behalf. Thanks.

as for the article, Pakistan will not allow hindustan to get influence or depth in Afghanistan. As soon as the NATOs are gone, odds will tilt in our favour. Afghanistan is our backyard –even Karzai said Afghanistan is conjoined twin of Pakistan. We are fairly well entrenched there….just need to ”ride out the waves” a little longer and see what happens! =)

John Smith
September 30, 2010 at 04:37

Here is a different approach India can take to win them all. Since Muslim nations are never at ease with each other when the external threat is absent. India can leave Afghan with NATO at the same time. After a while the quarrel about who is a good Muslim will break out between different branches of Islam, India can return to Afghan as a good mediator. This strategy will avoid the danger of nuclear flash point between India and Pakistan, as well as establish India as a good partner to all Muslim nations.

Share your thoughts

Your Name
Your Email
required, but not published
Your Comment

Sign up for our weekly newsletter
The Diplomat Brief